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Fortenberry seeks to move trial from California to Nebraska

(AP)
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 3:43 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Attorneys for U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry are asking a federal judge to move the Nebraska Republican’s upcoming trial from California, where he faces federal charges, to his home state.

The congressman’s attorneys filed a new motion on Monday, arguing that California is an “impractical forum” for the Feb. 15 trial.

They pointed to the California district court’s suspension of jury trials due to the pandemic, as well as the recent announcement that Republican state Sen. Mike Flood will challenge Fortenberry in the GOP primary on May 10. Attorneys noted that the federal courts in Nebraska are allowing jury trials.

“Congressman Fortenberry needs to quickly proceed to trial to clear his name,” attorneys wrote.

Fortenberry’s lawyers pointed to an earlier ruling from U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr., in which the judge denied Fortenberry’s motion to change venue but said that a defendant who “is inexplicably hauled into an inconvenient forum may seek to transfer to a more convenient one” under federal court rules.

Prosecutors have only responded to arguments in public court filings, but they have opposed Fortenberry’s previous efforts to move his trial to Nebrasksa.

Fortenberry has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging that he lied to federal authorities investigating an illegal campaign contribution.

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